Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Antoine Fuqua's Southpaw (with Jake Gyllenhaal) Is Officially Shooting in Western Pennsylvania!

Back in March, I passed along a rumor that Southpaw would shoot here this summer. As you've probably seen, it's official, Southpaw will be shooting in our area.

If you live near Indiana, PA, you'll have the chance to go to an open casting call this Saturday, May 24. The movie will shoot for a few weeks in Indiana in June and most of July and early August in Pittsburgh.

You can also follow Movie Casting Pittsburgh on Facebppl for ongoing information.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Drop by the Women in Film and Television International Summit (Westin Pittsburgh)

There are a few summit items that you can attend by paying to go to that item only:
  • Gideon's Army Screening, Friday, 5:30, Point Park University, 414 Wood St., GRW Theater. $10 for reception, screening and Q&A. Speakers include Kalpana Biswas, Anna Ahronheim, Bret Grote, Jasmine Gonzales Rose
  • War Reporting, Saturday, 1:30, Westin, Westmoreland Ballroom (2nd floor). $25 for this panel: Documentary filmmaking and broadcasting in war zones is an extremely dangerous mission and requires special skills, information and education. The expansion of women filming women who are disadvantaged, suffering in war zones or who are victims in war-torn countries is on the increase. Speakers include Martin Savidge, Kalpana Biswas, JulieHera DeStefano, Lynn Johnson, Kirsten Johnson.
  • Opal Awards Reception, Saturday, 7:00pm, Westin, Westmoreland Ballroom (2nd floor). $55 for this event: The Opal Awards will be held to honor local women for their work in the film and television industry. The evening will also present three scholarships to local women enrolled in colleges and universities with over $4,000 in funds for their education in a film or television curriculum. The Women In Film and Television International Board of Directors will present an award to a deserving woman in the film or television industry. Along with the dessert reception, there will be a cash bar. Honorees include Deborah L. Acklin, Catherine Hardwicke, Dawn Keezer, Eleanor Schano. The event will be MCed by Carol Lee Espy.
You can buy admissions for War Reporting, the Opal Awards Reception or for the entire summit in the 2nd floor Rotunda of the Westin Convention Center, Pittsburgh beginning at noon today. You can buy admissions for the Gideon's Army screening at the GRW Theater at Point Park University beginning at 5pm on Friday.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Women in Film & Television International Summit Arrives in Pittsburgh on May 16

This weekend, a number of movers and shakers in the media biz will be giving presentations and participating in the Women in Film & Television International Summit. Women in Film & Media - Pittsburgh is managing this occasional event, which brings together producers, writers, directors and all kinds of media professionals. Panelists include:

The summit will have a few dozen panels and presentation on many aspects of the media biz, including:

In addition to the conference, Pittsburgh's Opal Awards will be awarded at a reception on Saturday night. The reception opens at 7pm with a dessert reception. Director Catherine Hardwicke, WQED CEO Deborah L. Acklin, Pittsburgh Film Office's Dawn Keezer, and longtime Pittsburgh journalist Eleanor Schano will be honored during Opal ceremony.

You can register or buy Opal Award tickets online through midnight (EDT) on Wednesday, May 14. Conference registrations and Opal Award tickets will be available at the door beginning at noon on Thursday, May 15 in the 2nd floor Rotunda of the Westin Pittsburgh Convention Center.

pghflicks.us is a conference sponsor, and is sponsoring complimentary WIFI in the Westmoreland room on Saturday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pittsburgh-Filmed Foxcatcher to Compete at Cannes This Year!

The Bennett Miller flick will be among the films in competition at the Cannes Film Festival in May. Here's the report from Deadline. Only eighteen movies are in competition at Cannes

Foxcatcher was filmed in Pittsburgh during late 2012, and stars Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo. Vanessa Redgrave and Sienna Miller also appear.

Here's the trailer.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Movie Season Comes to Pittsburgh - Fathers and Daughters and a Fascinating Rumor

Since 2008 or so, movie-making season has tended to hit Pittsburgh in the spring. Last year was an exception when movie-making season (for pay) didn't start until late August.

But, this year anyway, with the start of production of Fathers and Daughters, movie-making has returned to Pittsburgh with the robins. Fathers and Daughters marks Russell Crowe's return to Pittsburgh. He make The Next Three Days here five years ago. In Fathers and Daughters he plays a novelist who has a difficult relationship with his daughter, played by Amanda Seyfried.

Nancy Mosser is handling extra casting and put out a general call for extras for this week:

Extras needed for upcoming scenes on Russell Crowe, Amanda Seyfried and Aaron Paul film, Fathers and Daughters next week. Pay is minimum wage for the first 8 hours and time and a half after that. MUST HAVE A CAR TO GET TO SET AND LIVE IN OR NEAR THE PITTSBURGH, PA AREA. Calltimes could be early morning or could be overnight. We have no way of knowing yet so please don't submit yourself for a certain day unless your 100% available.



  • Upscale restaurant patrons - 20-40 years old
  • Blue-collar Bar patrons - 30s-70s


  • people who can jog or skateboard. Please denote if you can do any of these)


  • Artsy looking couples - 20s/30s

If interested in submitting yourself to be considered, please email a recent picture to fathersanddaughterscasting@gmail.com. You should put your name, age, phone number, location and car make, color and year. Also put in the subject line which role you'd like to be considered for.

Fathers and Daughters is due to be shooting through the end of April.

If you've never done extra work and if you love the movies, you may really enjoy these opportunities. You have nothing worse to lose than a day, for which you'll be paid. If you find it wasn't for you, you don't have to go back. But, if you enjoy being on set, meeting other filmworkers and watching the being-the-scenes workings of movie-making, it can be loads of fun.

One of the great things about being on set is hearing about other movie-making opportunities. So it turns out the Fathers and Daughters may not be the only flick being shot in Pittsburgh early this year - Antoine Fuqua's next directorial effort, Southpaw, may be shooting in Pittsburgh in June (though this may be on the level of "unconfirmed rumor"). Fuqua is probably best-known for directing Denzel Washington to a Best Actor Oscar in Training Day. Fuqua is a Pittsburgh native, and Southpaw's reported star, Jake Gyllenhaal, shot the wildly entertaining flick Love and Other Drugs here a few years back. So I hope this moves beyond "fascinating rumor" soon!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Thinking About the Women in Film and Television International Summit and Wondering "Why Visit Pittsburgh?"

The Women in Film & Television International Summit is coming to Pittsburgh this spring. It'll be an interesting confab of industry professionals and professionals-to-be talking about current media trends, creative disruption, new distribution channels and using new media to your best advantage.

Sounds great, you may be thinking. But...Pittsburgh?

Pittsburgh has been a fabulous city for ages. When out of towners who've never been to Pittsburgh come to visit, a common reaction is "Wow, this place is great." And it's only gotten better over the last few years.

Take getting in from the airport. Want to save a few bucks? You can jump on a 28X bus, pay $3.75 and be dropped off about 4 blocks from the Westin. There are also Super Shuttles, taxis or limo service that will take you straight to the hotel.

As you approach downtown Pittsburgh, you go through the Ft. Pitt tunnel and onto the Ft. Pitt Bridge and...voila...the money shot, an amazing view of downtown (and if you saw Perks of Being a Wallflower or Boys on the Side, you know exactly what I mean). On your left, the Ohio River and Point State Park with its fountain and walking trails. Across the river, Heinz Field where the Steelers play and PNC Park where the Pirates play. Straight ahead, downtown Pittsburgh, often called the Golden Triangle. On your right, the Monongehela River with Station Square across the river from downtown. And, behind you, Mt. Washington with a breathtaking view of downtown and two inclines to take you to the top. Check Google for "photos of Pittsburgh" if you need more convincing that Pittsburgh has become picturesque over the last 60 years.

Within a mile of the summit's convention hotel, the Westin, are over a hundred great restaurants and trendy bars, many galleries, and museums like the Andy Warhol. Sadly, the Pittsburgh Pirates are not in town during the Summit, but you can still visit PNC Park, a baseball park commonly called the best baseball park in the country. Besides the Summit, there are loads of cultural events going on in downtown in mid-May, including a Tony Bennett concert on Friday, May 17. And, if you want, you can take a tour of Pittsburgh, take a classic Ducky tour and Pittsburgh Pedal Power Tours, which will feature of movie tour of Pittsburgh on Thursday, May 15 (write to wifsummit@gmail.com and put "Tours" in your Subject line if you're interested in Pedal Power Tours' downtown movie locations tour).

A short cab ride away from downtown Pittsburgh is Oakland with the Carnegie Museums of Natural History and Art, a must-stop spot for any museum-fan (and a great place to take your kids if they're visiting Pittsburgh with you).

The Women in Film and Television International Summit will open its Registration/Information table on the second floor of the Westin by noon on Thursday and will be ready to help you with suggestions of where to go and what to do. Meet back in the Westin's bar and between 6 and 7 to meet other summit attendees and get ideas about where to go to dinner.

Bon Appetit has listed Pittsburgh as the city where you need to eat now and everyone who's been here agrees!

Recommended restaurants within five blocks of the hotel include:

And even more recommended restaurants with about a mile of the hotel. Many of these are in the Strip District, a shopping area full of fresh produce and trendy art/antique spots.

  • Lidia's Pittsburgh, 1400 Smallman - Lidia Bastianich's elegant home of upscale Italian food
  • Rolands Seafood Grill, 1904 Penn - Large variety of seafood & beer
  • Kaya, 2000 Smallman - Caribbean fusion, many vegetarian options
  • Luke Wholley's, 2106 Penn - Excellent fish, great lobster bisque

Check out some other local restaurants on the Pittsburgh Magazine site.

So while you're meeting women from across the country and learning the latest about the film industry, you can indulge a little!

Stop by the Women in Film and Media Website for more information about the Summit and about Pittsburgh.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Looking for a Fun Oscar Party to go to? Hollywood Theater Oscar Party is On!

The Hollywood Theater in Dormont is running their great Oscar party again this year. If you were on the fence about going out tonight, the weather (at least west of Pittsburgh) is pretty good and the Hollywood still has tickets for tonight. Dress up, don't dress up, but show up in Dormont tonight.

Even though the roads are pretty clear, do yourself a favor and don't take Potomac between Banksville and Belrose or Espy Streets. Take Hillsdale instead as it's much less steep. Free street parking tonight!

I had a winning night at the party. I won one round of Oscar trivia and won candy. I later won the Oscar ballot pool for the evening, guessing 18 of the 24 Oscar winners (75%). Won two books & movie tickets.

What Should Win the Oscars, What Will Win the Oscars, 2014

As I've said before, I thought 2013 was an exceptional year for flicks. Most years, I'm really pissed off by some of the Oscar nominees, but, this year, I liked almost all of them. The performances were particularly strong.

Actor in a Leading Role

Everyone in this category deserved their nominations, but Tom Hanks for Captain Phillips and Idris Elba for Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom did as well. For a great example of range, see Out of the Furnace and compare/contrast Christian Bale's performance there and in American Hustle. While I have not seen 12 Years a Slave, I think probably Ejiofor most deserves the Oscar, but I would not be upset to see McConaughey win for Dallas Buyers Club, as his performance was awonderful.

  • Christian Bale in American Hustle
  • Bruce Dern in Nebraska
  • Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 Years a Slave (should win)
  • Matthew McConaughey in Dallas Buyers Club (will win)

Actor in a Supporting Role

Barkhad Abdi was impressive in his first movie role in Captain Phillips, and Bradley Cooper continues to deliver well-nuanced roles. But Jared Leto came from out of left field in Dallas Buyers Club and he was great.

  • Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips
  • Bradley Cooper in American Hustle
  • Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave
  • Jonah Hill in The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club (should win, will win)

Actress in a Leading Role

Amy Adams gave a wonderfully ferocious performance in American Hustle and does deserve the Oscar the most. Cate Blanchett gave a very good performance in Blue Jasmine, but it was just too clearly based on Vivien Leigh in Streetcar Named Desire. While people tend to ignore Sandra Bullock in Gravity, I found her performance in Gravity was as engaging the second time as it was the first.

  • Amy Adams in American Hustle (should win)
  • Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine (will win)
  • Sandra Bullock in Gravity
  • Judi Dench in Philomena
  • Meryl Streep in August: Osage County

Actress in a Supporting Role

I loved June Squibb's raucous performance in Nebraska. While I liked Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle, she just won last year and June Squibb is going to be 85 this year and has been in the business for decades.

  • Sally Hawkins in Blue Jasmine
  • Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle
  • Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave (will win)
  • Julia Roberts in August: Osage County
  • June Squibb in Nebraska (should win)

Animated Feature Film

Frozen as better than I expected, and, like Brave had really amazing design. However, I'd rather see The Wind Rises as Miyazaki never got the kind of acknowledgement from Hollywood that he deserves.

  • The Croods Chris Sanders, Kirk DeMicco and Kristine Belson
  • Despicable Me 2 Chris Renaud, Pierre Coffin and Chris Meledandri
  • Ernest & Celestine Benjamin Renner and Didier Brunner
  • Frozen Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho (will win)
  • The Wind Rises Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki (should win)


  • The Grandmaster Philippe Le Sourd
  • Gravity Emmanuel Lubezki (should win, will win)
  • Inside Llewyn Davis Bruno Delbonnel
  • Nebraska Phedon Papamichael
  • Prisoners Roger A. Deakins

Costume Design

  • American Hustle Michael Wilkinson (will win)
  • The Grandmaster William Chang Suk Ping
  • The Great Gatsby Catherine Martin
  • The Invisible Woman Michael O’Connor (should win)
  • 12 Years a Slave Patricia Norris


I think Directing/Picture will be a split this year between Cuaron and 12 Years a Slave. It's possible that it might split the other way, but that's less likely.

  • American Hustle David O. Russell
  • Gravity Alfonso Cuarón (should win, will win)
  • Nebraska Alexander Payne
  • 12 Years a Slave Steve McQueen
  • The Wolf of Wall Street Martin Scorsese

Documentary Feature

  • The Act of Killing Joshua Oppenheimer and Signe Byrge Sørensen
  • Cutie and the Boxer Zachary Heinzerling and Lydia Dean Pilcher
  • Dirty Wars Richard Rowley and Jeremy Scahill
  • The Square Jehane Noujaim and Karim Amer
  • 20 Feet from Stardom Morgan Neville, Gil Friesen and Caitrin Rogers (should win, will win)

Documentary Short Subject

  • "CaveDigger” Jeffrey Karoff
  • "Facing Fear” Jason Cohen
  • "Karama Has No Walls” Sara Ishaq
  • "The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed (should win, will win)
  • "Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” Edgar Barens

Film Editing

  • American Hustle Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers and Alan Baumgarten (should win, will win)
  • Captain Phillips Christopher Rouse
  • Dallas Buyers Club John Mac McMurphy and Martin Pensa
  • Gravity Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger
  • 12 Years a Slave Joe Walker

Foreign Language Film

  • The Broken Circle Breakdown Belgium
  • The Great Beauty Italy (should win, will win)
  • The Hunt Denmark
  • The Missing Picture Cambodia
  • Omar Palestine

Makeup and Hairstyling

  • Dallas Buyers Club Adruitha Lee and Robin Mathews (should win, will win)
  • Jackass Presents: Bad Grandpa Stephen Prouty
  • The Lone Ranger Joel Harlow and Gloria Pasqua-Casny

Music (Original Score)

The Gravity score is quite different...except from The World's End, another science fictional movie score, also by Steven Price.

  • The Book Thief John Williams
  • Gravity Steven Price (should win, will win)
  • Her William Butler and Owen Pallett
  • Philomena Alexandre Desplat
  • Saving Mr. Banks Thomas Newman

Music (Original Song)

Yes, "Let It Go" is very singable and it's been everywhere during the last few months. But I'd rather see "Ordinary Love," a somewhat more meaningful song than a teen pep anthem take the statue.

  • "Happy” from Despicable Me 2 Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams
  • “Let It Go” from Frozen Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez (will win)/li>
  • “The Moon Song” from Her Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze/li>
  • “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson (should win)

Best Picture

I haven't seen 12 Years a Slave, but I believe the people who keep saying it's great and I will watch it once it hits cable for a reasonable price. I'm actually glad I didn't see Dallas Buyers Club in the theater because that, too was more intense than I imagined. I think 12 Years a Slave will get the Oscar, and in a year with so many high quality movies, that's saying quite a lot.

  • American Hustle Charles Roven, Richard Suckle, Megan Ellison and Jonathan Gordon, Producers
  • Captain Phillips Scott Rudin, Dana Brunetti and Michael De Luca, Producers
  • Dallas Buyers Club Robbie Brenner and Rachel Winter, Producers
  • Gravity Alfonso Cuarón and David Heyman, Producers
  • Her Megan Ellison, Spike Jonze and Vincent Landay, Producers
  • Nebraska Albert Berger and Ron Yerxa, Producers
  • Philomena Gabrielle Tana, Steve Coogan and Tracey Seaward, Producers
  • 12 Years a Slave Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen and Anthony Katagas, Producers (should win, will win)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joey McFarland and Emma Tillinger Koskoff, Producers

Production Design

I found the production design for The Great Gatsby to be too over-the-top and operatic. I certainly liked the design of Gravity, and American Hustle captured the look and feel of the '70s. But Her was a subtle look into the future, with the constant images of a large city making the characters look ever more isolated.

  • American Hustle Production Design: Judy Becker; Set Decoration: Heather Loeffler
  • Gravity Production Design: Andy Nicholson; Set Decoration: Rosie Goodwin and Joanne Woollard
  • The Great Gatsby Production Design: Catherine Martin; Set Decoration: Beverley Dunn
  • Her Production Design: K.K. Barrett; Set Decoration: Gene Serdena (should win, will win)
  • 12 Years a Slave Production Design: Adam Stockhausen; Set Decoration: Alice Baker

Short Film (Animated)

At first I predicted one of the other films, and then remembered the "Get a Horse" was the extremely clever short that played before Frozen. It was truly a unique, meta cartoon.

  • “Feral” Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden
  • “Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim (should win, will win)
  • “Mr. Hublot” Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares
  • “Possessions” Shuhei Morita
  • “Room on the Broom” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

Short Film (Live Action)

  • “Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)” Esteban Crespo
  • “Avant Que De Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)” Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras
  • “Helium” Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson (should win, will win)
  • “Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)” Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari
  • “The Voorman Problem” Mark Gill and Baldwin Li

Sound Editing

  • All Is Lost Steve Boeddeker and Richard Hymns
  • Captain Phillips Oliver Tarney
  • Gravity Glenn Freemantle (should win, will win)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Brent Burge and Chris Ward
  • Lone Survivor Wylie Stateman

Sound Mixing

  • Captain Phillips Chris Burdon, Mark Taylor, Mike Prestwood Smith and Chris Munro
  • Gravity Skip Lievsay, Niv Adiri, Christopher Benstead and Chris Munro (should win, will win)
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Christopher Boyes, Michael Hedges, Michael Semanick and Tony Johnson
  • Inside Llewyn Davis Skip Lievsay, Greg Orloff and Peter F. Kurland
  • Lone Survivor Andy Koyama, Beau Borders and David Brownlow

Visual Effects

  • Gravity Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, David Shirk and Neil Corbould
  • The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds
  • Iron Man 3 Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick
  • The Lone Ranger Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier
  • Star Trek Into Darkness Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

These three awards are as close to a lock as any awards could be, particularly this one. The Visual Effects for gravity were truly amazing.

Writing (Adapted Screenplay)

  • Before Midnight Written by Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke
  • Captain Phillips Screenplay by Billy Ray
  • Philomena Screenplay by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope
  • 12 Years a Slave Screenplay by John Ridley (should win, will win)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street Screenplay by Terence Winter

Writing (Original Screenplay)

This may be the hardest category of them all. All of these movies had intelligent scripts. I really walked out of American Hustle wishing I could write the next script for David O. Russell. But while American Hustle was a great, in your face script (as was Dallas Buyers Club), Her (and Nebraska) were both extremely quiet.

  • American Hustle Written by Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell (should win, will win)
  • Blue Jasmine Written by Woody Allen
  • Dallas Buyers Club Written by Craig Borten & Melisa Wallack
  • Her Written by Spike Jonze
  • Nebraska Written by Bob Nelson

Comments on the show.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Why 2013 Was a Lot Like 1939 and 1977 for Movie Lovers

I've seen yet another of the best movies of 2013, and it was stunning - Dallas Buyers Club. I've now seen seven of the nine Best Picture nominees, and will probably see 12 Years a Slave this week. The only one I really don't want to see is Wolf of Wall Street, so I might catch that on cable some day.

Increasingly, I think 2013 was the best year for movies since 1977, and may even rival 1939 for memorable, classic movies. Even a "lesser" movie like Her, the inclusion of which as a "Best Picture" nominee made some people puzzled, had intriguing performances and an intelligent look at how technology can take over some people's lives.

For many years, I've posted a lengthy article predicting the Oscars. In some ways, it may be harder than ever to predict this year, there have been so many excellent movies. Yes, it's likely 12 Years a Slave will take Best Picture and Gravity will take Best Director. But it could go off in so many directions.

I think movies like 12 Years a Slave, Gravity, American Hustle, Nebraska and Philomena will be talked about and rewatched in the way The Wizard of Oz, Gone With the Wind, Stagecoach and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. These are the movies we'll remember.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Top 10 Movies of 2013

[[Updated 2014/01/27]] I have to change my list a little:
  1. Gravity
  2. American Hustle
  3. In a World
  4. Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom
  5. Her
  6. Saving Mr. Banks
  7. The World's End
  8. Nebraska
  9. Captain Phillips
  10. Europa Report

Haven't seen Kill Your Darlings yet and hope to (but probably not before the Oscars).

I'd put Philomena, The Book Thief, Frozen, Inside Llewyn Davis, The Butler, Blue Jasmine, The Way Way Back, Much Ado About Nothing, Warm Bodies & Catching Fire in the next 10. Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon didn't completely work but was a respectable first movie.

This was the year I gave up on big junk movies. No more Star Trek, no more comic book movies (except for maybe Iron Man). I saw maybe 6 of the top 10 grossing movies of 2013. I caught Pacific Rim on DVD and just found it silly.

In terms of movies made in Pittsburgh, there wasn't much released in 2013. I would like to have liked Out of the Furnace, and while it had excellent photography and acting (especially Christian Bale who then went on to play a radically different character in American Hustle) the script was, frankly, lame and overly violent.

And, sometimes, I can't watch movies that I know are good movies because they are too violent. So I haven't seen 12 Years a Slave as I know it is a very violent movie (as was, at times, Mandela). I will Netflix 12 Years when I can so I can put it on pause or skip ahead. I thought Steve McQueen's Shame was a great movie, but it was so hard to watch (and it was "only" about sex, not about violence and human ownership). I expect the Oscars will be a director/movie split between Gravity and 12 Years, but I'm still not 100% sure how it will split.